Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Friday, February 03, 2023

Dispatchers for 911 are being inundated with false, automated distress calls from Apple devices owned by skiers who are very much alive.

Next week Google is hosting what can only be described as an "emergency" event. According to an invite sent to The Verge, the event will revolve around "using the power of AI to reimagine how people search for, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need"

Appearing before a federal judge after pleading guilty to a felony charge in the deadly Capitol riot, former West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans expressed remorse for letting down his family and his community, saying he made a "crucial mistake."

Thursday, February 02, 2023

A "software-defined vehicle" is one that heavily relies on computers and code. Associated Press asks Edmunds' experts to talk about the issues of cars that could be updated like your smartphone. read more

Ever since President Vladimir Putin signed into law new rules banning the promotion of "nontraditional" sexual relationships in December, books have been pulled from shelves and movies have been banned. read more


From the National Weather Service for this area...

National Weather Service New York NY
338 AM EST Fri Feb 3 2023


[CT] Northern Fairfield-Northern New Haven-Southern Fairfield-Southern New Haven-Southern Middlesex-Southern New London

[NJ] Western Passaic

[NY] Orange-Putnam-Rockland-Northern Westchester-Northeast Suffolk-Southeast Suffolk-


* WHAT...Very cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as low as 20 below zero.

* WHERE...Portions of southern Connecticut, northeast New Jersey and southeast New York.

* WHEN...From 5 PM this afternoon to 9 AM EST Saturday.

* IMPACTS...The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes....

An update...

Chinese balloon now over central US as Blinken cancels visit

...A huge, high-altitude Chinese balloon sailed across the U.S. on Friday, drawing severe Pentagon accusations of spying and sending excited or alarmed Americans outside with binoculars. Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing U..S.-China tensions.

The cancelation came despite China's claim that the balloon was a weather research "airship" that had blown off course. The Pentagon rejected that out of hand " and China's contention that the balloon, about the size of two school buses, was not being used for surveillance and had only limited navigational ability.

The balloon was detected earlier over sensitive military sites in Montana but had moved eastward over the heartland of the central United States by midday and was expected to remain in U.S. airspace for several days, officials said.

The development marked a new blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations that have been in a downward spiral for years over numerous issues. Still, U.S. officials maintained that diplomatic channels remain open and that Blinken was willing to travel to China at "an appropriate time."

President Joe Biden declined to comment on the matter when questioned at an economic event. Two 2024 reelection challengers, former President Donald Trump, and Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, said the U.S. should immediately shoot down the balloon....

Another overview...

America's mind-blowing labor market

I will also want to add my usual... do not look at just one month, but the rolling three-month avergaes. While the rolling three-month average does tend to temper this month's results, the labor market still looks good with that average.

Another view...

Services PMI at 55.2%; January 2023 Services ISM Report On Business

...Business Activity Index at 60.4%; New Orders Index at 60.4%; Employment Index at 50%; Supplier Deliveries Index at 50%

Economic activity in the services sector grew in January after contracting in December following 30 consecutive months of growth, with the Services PMI registering 55.2 percent, say the nation's purchasing and supply executives in the latest Services ISM Report On Business.

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., A.P.P., CFPM, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services Business Survey Committee: "In January, the Services PMI registered 55.2 percent, 6 percentage points higher than December's seasonally adjusted reading of 49.2 percent. The composite index grew in January after contracting in December for the first time since May 2020, when it registered 45.4 percent (seasonally adjusted). The Business Activity Index registered 60.4 percent, a 6.9-percentage point increase compared to the seasonally adjusted reading of 53.5 percent in December. The New Orders Index grew in January after contracting in December for the first time since May 2020; the figure of 60.4 percent is 15.2 percentage points higher than the seasonally adjusted December reading of 45.2 percent.

"The Supplier Deliveries registered 50 percent in January, indicating unchanged performance. The index registered 1.5 percentage points higher than the 48.5 percent reported in December. (Supplier Deliveries is the only ISM Report On Business index that is inversed; a reading of above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, which is typical as the economy improves and customer demand increases.)

"The Prices Index was down 0.3 percentage point in January, to 67.8 percent. The Inventories Index contracted for the eighth consecutive month; the reading of 49.2 percent is up 4.1 percentage points from December's figure of 45.1 percent. The Inventory Sentiment Index (55.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from December's reading of 55.9 percent) expanded for the second consecutive month after four straight months in contraction.

"Ten industries reported growth in January, according to the Services PMI, which was in expansion territory after a single month of contraction and the prior 30-month period of growth. The composite index has indicated expansion for all but three of the previous 155 months."...

The 10 services industries reporting growth in January -- listed in order -- are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Utilities; Other Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Public Administration; Educational Services; Accommodation & Food Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The eight industries reporting a decrease in the month of January " listed in order " are: Transportation & Warehousing; Retail Trade; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Mining; Construction; Information; Finance & Insurance; and Wholesale Trade....

US Black Unemployment Matches Record Low in Robust Job Market

...The unemployment rate for Black Americans in January dropped to match a record low, as the labor market's surprise strength benefited a broad swathe of workers.

Last month's rate fell to 5.4%, the same rate reached in September of 2019, which was the lowest in data stretching back to the early 1970s, according to a Labor Department released Friday. That was down from 5.7% in December.

The data showed that more Black Americans entered the labor force and became employed. Still, the January rate is 2 percentage points above that of the overall population and remains the highest among the race groups tracked by the government.

The January report displayed widespread employment and labor force growth. ...

@#1 ... People being laid off en-mass isn't the sign of a good economy. ...

So far, the most significant layoffs have been in the tech sector.

For example, non-manufacturing also had a good month, even though it was not one of the headline numbers today...

U.S. ISM Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index

Latest Release Feb 03, 2023
Actual 55.2
Forecast 50.4
Previous 49.2

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) (also known as the ISM Services PMI) report on Business, a composite index is calculated as an indicator of the overall economic condition for the non-manufacturing sector. The NMI is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes for four of the indicators with equal weights: Business Activity (seasonally adjusted), New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted) and Supplier Deliveries.

A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting....

Another view...

Chinese surveillance balloon over US causes fearful gasbagging

...Floats over missile silos, shooting it down ruled more dangerous than whatever it's up to

A Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon, spotted drifting over the US, has caused concern about national security " but the Department of Defense says it will not be shot down by F22s at this time.

"The United States Government has detected and is tracking a high altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now," read a statement from Pentagon press secretary brigadier general Pat Ryder. Ryder said the balloon was carefully being tracked by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and does not currently pose a physical threat.

"Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years," said Ryder, adding that the US government had taken immediate actions to protect against collection of sensitive information....

Reaction to the balloon having hit the US military's radar has, predictably, generated much criticism of the Biden Administration's approach to national security and US borders.

But the Pentagon has pointed out the balloon is ... erm ... full of hot air.

"Currently we assess that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective," said the senior defense official. Although the balloon is clearly for surveillance and flying over sensitive sites, the official position is it likely does not provide any more value that what can be collected from a Low Earth Orbit satellite, and its tech is not "revolutionary."...

Also in the article is a few citations of how the Internet is [humorously?] viewing the matter...

@#16 ... It likely wasn't done to spy. It was likely done more to embarrass the US and the current administration. ...

Sec of State Blinken has postponed his trip to China to talk with Pres Xi.

Mystery balloon discovery over Montana cancels US China trip

...Blinken had been prepared as late as Thursday to travel to Beijing this weekend but the administration had begun to reconsider the trip following the discovery of the balloon on Wednesday, even before its presence was made public, an official said.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the administration had " noted" China's expression of regret.

)The senior defense official did not address whether the U.S. accepted that it may have been a weather balloon instead of a surveillance one, as U.S. officials had previously described it. But, he said, the seriousness of the violation of U.S. airspace, sovereignty and international law was such that Blinken's trip could not go forward as planned.

The official called the presence of the balloon "unacceptable" and said that message had been delivered by Blinken to Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi on Friday....

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